There is one central vision shared by all actors involved in Development Cooperation: the eradication of poverty and the eventual phasing-out of the need for foreign assistance. Cyprus is doing its part to contribute to the efforts of the international community for the achievement of this vision.
Cyprus has not always been an aid donor country. It is only during the last decades that Cyprus has evolved from being an aid recipient to an aid donor country. After the 1974 Turkish invasion and the dismantling of the Cypriot economy through the occupation by the Turkish forces of almost 37% of its territory, Cyprus was confronted with enormous challenges. The efforts of the Government to cater for the needs of its displaced population and to facilitate the restitution of the Cypriot production base were aided by technical assistance which was offered by international organizations such as the United Nations, the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation, as well as by individual countries on a bilateral basis.
Two decades later (1994) the Government of Cyprus launched the “Technical Assistance Scheme for Foreign Countries” which aimed at making Cypriot know-how and expertise in economic transition and development, available to third countries. Technical assistance took the form of training scholarships in various tertiary academic institutions of Cyprus on a variety of subjects including Management, Public Administration, Tourism, Forestry and Technology. During the decade 1994-2004 Cyprus offered, within the framework of the Scheme, 1155 scholarships.
Special assistance was also offered by the Cyprus Government on an ad hoc basis through the undertaking of small scale development projects or through the provision of emergency or humanitarian assistance in the form of shipments of pharmaceuticals, food and clothing and/or grants.
It is also worth mentioning that during the past decade, assistance was also provided through a number of civil society organisations like the Greek-Orthodox Church of Cyprus, the Cyprus Red Cross, the Volunteer Doctors – Cyprus, all of which have developed cooperation with a number of countries of the region. This assistance does not qualify as Official Development Assistance, but it is nonetheless proving the willingness of the Cypriot Civil Society to contribute to global development.
In 2006, Cyprus introduced a new element in its development cooperation effort, namely the implementation of development projects in partner countries through Delegated Cooperation – Silent Partnerships. This method entails that Cyprus forms partnerships with other agencies, preferably EU Member States or International Organisations, for the implementation of development projects in countries of common interest. The rationale behind this decision was that cooperation with other countries, enables Cyprus to gradually build up its aid delivery know-how while at the same time it ensures that Cypriot aid is benefiting partner countries from the onset of Cyprus’ engagement in the sector. Otherwise, a large part of the ODA budget would have to be directed towards building an aid delivery mechanism, thereby considerably decreasing the actual aid reaching partner countries. In this way, Cyprus can provide assistance in an efficient and effective way so that the positive effect is maximized for the recipient country.
It is noted that the volume of Cyprus Official Development Assistance has shown a significant increase during the past few years. It is worth mentioning that the volume of Cyprus' Official Development in 2005 was only 0.09% of its Gross National Income, whereas in 2010 the same indicator climbed to 0.23%.